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Old Mar 24, 2010, 8:41 PM   #11
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My personal conclusion is a good tripod and the FZ35 w/ 1.7 TC X EZ Zoom is a very capable lightweight birder setup...now I have figure out what Tripod is going to work without being too light...

I am really impressed by this little FZ35...1616mm that's crazy!! Thanks Greg...Bob's your Uncle!
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 8:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTZ470 View Post
My personal conclusion is a good tripod and the FZ35 w/ 1.7 TC X EZ Zoom is a very capable lightweight birder setup...now I have figure out what Tripod is going to work without being too light...

I am really impressed by this little FZ35...1616mm that's crazy!! Thanks Greg...Bob's your Uncle!
Gee now I've got 2 uncles - Uncle Jack (setter dog) is another very nice "senior gentleman" who posts here regularly.

Great photos. Hey just for fun, and we already know it's never going to be an apples-for-apples comparison, but the FZ35 is very nice? Lots of details.

So list the weight and price of both setups as used to take those photos (ignoring tripod)

THEN - try a handheld with both setups. Given a bit of patience with 5-shot full res burst mode on the FZ35, you should be able to come up with a sharp shot. (You may have to try ISO100 or 200 depending on light to keep the shutter sped up to at least 1/1000 sec. Just make sure that the OIS is set to Mode 2, NOT Auto. Then see if the zillion $ Canon kit can do a sharp image too. Is the bigma Image Stabilized?

Don't do any extra work on my account, but the case for superzoom bridge cameras is becoming more compelling/ All the time. With the exception of low-light, action and studio of course.

Curiouser and curiouser...
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 9:58 PM   #13
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The FZ35 rocks Greg...if I had realized the possibilties with it before I had a full blown Canon setup it would have really swayed my decision making totally...the great thingabout any of the Canon Lens or Cameras is they lose minimal value...I bought the Bigma just for a try out and going to return it...not sharp enough...if the weather breaks here (raining) I'll take a couple shots with the 7D and the 100-400 w/ 1.4 TC = 560mm X 1.6 Crop camera = 896mm the 500mm Bigma was actually a 800mm setup on the 7D...Yes I will try some hand held also (I'll only drink one cup of coffee in the AM!)...thanks for the pointers

FZ35 + Adapter + LT-55 TC = $534 USD

Canon 7D + 1.4TC + 100-400 (Manual Focus only with TC attached) = $2838 USD

Canon 7D + 150-500 Bigma = $2388

Carrying a FZ35 with a TC 6 hrs Hiking/Biking compared to a 7D with a 70-200/100-400 = Priceless!!! (Especially with a 1616mm fully Auto Focus System!!!)
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 11:52 PM   #14
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But keep in mine if the light is not that great, the advantage shifts greatly to the dslr. And if you are shooting something that is in motion and need a burst the dslr again has the advantage. It really comes down to what you are shooting to determine what the needs are. I doubt you will be able to keep up with a flying bird with the fz and tc as well as a dslr and the bigma. But if you are not after that, and looking for a stationary bird, the fz and tc would make a very good companion.
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 12:05 AM   #15
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Very good point I did track and shoot a couple of Turkey Vultures at a distance with the FZ35 and the TC...had to zoom out and back in to get on track with them...yes a very good point I'll give it a go tomorrow if arrive at the sand dunes on time...

May be out of pocket a few headed to West Texas to ride the sand dunes and look for Arrowheads, Etc...last time we were out I found an old Indian Pot buried deep? Marked it on the GPS and haven't been back for months...will check it out and take some pic's of our findings...

The smaller BIF are almost impossible even with a Machine Gun DSLR like the 7D...the larger birds that soar frequently are a little easier...

I am going to look at the best focusing for BIF...any suggestions/experience for the FZ35 as to which focus point is better for tracking?
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 12:13 AM   #16
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with small subject like bif, I would use as many af points. It is very hard to keep a small subject in the center point all the time.
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 12:43 AM   #17
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While the camera does offer focus tracking, it may struggle with a small moving bird at full telephoto - it's not phase detect like the DSLR. Then again, who knows, you might make it work?! But it does rely on you fixing the focus point to the subject manually in the first place...

I'd try multipoint 11 area as our friend shoturtle (does he really shoot turtles?? ) recommends, and also try both 1-area and 1-area high speed. Alternatively, if you are confident that the bird with be moving across you plane of vision, not towards or away from you, you could use AF lock from another similar subject eg another bird. Its a numbers game really, and the tiny buffer on the FZ REALLY sucks, it's worse than the old FZ8! Your really won't see any quality difference using the Normal instead of Fine quality, which extends the buffer to a massive 5 shots instead of 3.

Another point to note, is that the FZ Venus engine will slow the burst speed significantly when using ISO 200 or above, it will only go at full speed at ISO 80 or 100. (My old FZ18 ran full sped up to 400 ISO with the 8MP sensor and Venus III - a concession to the silly 12mp sensor perhaps?)

So light allowing, a bit underexposed isn't too much drama, better a sharp slightly under-exposed picture with a bit of sky noise after boosting EV on your PC, than missing the shot altogether! Also a small subject against a bright sky is a contrast challenge, so I also suggest experimenting with reducing the contrast in the Picture Adjust menu 1 or 2 steps. Or try the Intelligent Exposure feature, which has 3 levels. Re colour, Panasonic acknowledges that boosting the saturation setting will increase noise, so if you find the underexposure method is creating too much blue sky noise, you could reduce the saturation and just lasoo the bird for a colour increase in Photoshop later.

Phew!

I did a few tests today in bright light, and with the max EZzoom at 35.2 times, it does meter different than 18x. I found it difficult to get sharp shots at less than 1/1000 sec. I have read that some recommend using 8 or 5MP which is 28 or 32x zoom, but more pixels, so you can get better cropping results later.

I agree 100%, the FZ35 is a fantastic camera - it is complex and does not suit a P&S beginner that is not prepare4d to go through the learning cycle - but used to it's strengths it will give many DSLR's a run for their money, especially in good light with stationary or slow moving subjects.

There's a guy on Flickr with a "guess-the camera" gallery, with a mix of P&S and DSLR's, and he said most people can't tell the difference!

Lastly may I suggest (if you haven't already), creating 3 Custom profiles for your birding needs? Say:
  1. C1 = Tripod
  2. C2 = Handheld Stationary Subject
  3. C3 = Handheld Moving Subject.
This will save you forever fiddle-farting with settings.

Hope you are enjoying your new camera, as we are too enjoying your enthusiasm in this fun, friendly, and fantastic forum!

PS If you do a search on the forums on "bird", you will find many birding threads, from people with a lot more experience than me.
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